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When it comes to the Constitution, lawyers should be relatively well-informed. John Ellenbecker is a long-time attorney in the St. Cloud area. In the interest of full disclosure, Ellenbecker and I were part of the same graduating class at Cathedral High School.

Ellenbecker’s constitutional ignorance was once again on display in this LTE’s comments when he said of Councilman Brandmire “In his Dec. 1, 2018 column in the Times Brandmire stated that he favors prohibiting additional Muslim settlement in St. Cloud (he described it as “I support the idea of closing the seemingly wide-open spigot of refugees coming here until we can assimilate those who are already here”) – which is contrary to his comment here. Closing the spigot is not a statement that you support a welcoming community. Closing the spigot is a violation of the constitutional rights of those he seeks to exclude from St. Cloud. Brandmire needs to clearly and unequivocally reverse his course and denounce efforts aimed at ‘closing the seemingly wide-open spigot of refugees coming here.'”

Having talked with Councilman Brandmire, I know that he understands that the City Council has an advisory role in the process, thanks to the Refugee Act of 1980. Saying that you support something isn’t the same as saying you’d overstep your authority. It simply means that he’d agree with that policy if that’s what the Trump administration settled on.

If Ellenbecker can’t figure out the difference between supporting something and writing an ordinance prohibiting refugees from getting settled here, then he went to the wrong law school. How is supporting a policy a violation of a refugee’s constitutional rights?

As for the statement that Councilman Brandmire’s statement isn’t “a statement that you support a welcoming community”, my questioning is ‘So what’? According to this website, the term welcoming community is kinda loaded:

The Standard will outline the policies, programs, and practices that local governments need to have in place —such as supporting new American civic participation; making services accessible; and engaging all residents, including both receiving communities and new Americans.

Apparently, conformity is required. If cities don’t conform, they don’t get certified. It’s impossible to hide the fact that WelcomingAmerica.com is about top-down, cookie-cutter government.

What part of that sounds anything like wisdom? The whole idea behind local government is to individualize policies to the greatest extent possible. WelcomingAmerica.com sounds like they operate from a federal government standpoint.

I strongly suggest that everyone read Councilman Brandmire’s op-ed. He doesn’t mince words nor does he sound unreasonable. It’s possible for people to disagree with him but it’s impossible to call him unreasonable.

As for Ellenbecker, he sounds like a Democrat who’s reading from DFL talking points. Whenever a Democrat talks about the Constitution, bet that it’s because it’s focus-group approved.

One thing that I didn’t mention when I wrote this post is the importance of constitutional republics. Without that system of government, what you’d really have is mob rule.

Let’s refresh your memory on what happened Monday night at the St. Cloud City Council meeting. BTW, why is so much happening at city council meetings this week? We’ll return to that later. At Monday night’s St. Cloud City Council meeting, members of various DFL front groups showed up with an anti-election agenda. Some of the DFL partisans asked for Paul Brandmire and Mike Conway to resign from their council positions. Others from these DFL front groups petitioned the Council to kick Mssrs. Brandmire and Conway off the Council.

The reason for those actions wasn’t specifically stated but it’s pretty clear why these DFL front groups want Brandmire and Conway gone. Both of these gentlemen have done their job by asking questions about the refugee resettlement program.

The crowd included members from the East Central Area Labor Council, TakeAction Minnesota and #UniteCloud, according to Jane Conrad, field representative for East Central Labor Council. Conrad called out council members Brandmire, who was quoted in the New York Times story, and Conway for being publicly sympathetic to the C-Cubed group that she calls “anti-refugee and anti-Muslim.”

It’s worth noting that C-Cubed isn’t funded by special interests. It isn’t an AstroTurf organization. It’s a legitimate grass roots organization. By comparison, TakeAction Minnesota, #UniteCloud and the East Central Area Labor Council are DFL front groups.

It’s worth noting that Jane Conrad is a longtime DFL activist/operative.

Owen Saucedo, a St. Cloud resident, spoke on behalf of the labor council. He asked both Brandmire and Conway to resign and if not, for the city council to censure them to show “it rejects bigotry in all its forms.”

That’s pretty drastic. There’s nothing bigoted about Brandmire or Conway. I’ve known both men a fair amount of time. I wouldn’t hesitate a split-second to state under oath that these men are men of integrity and not men with hostile animus.

Conrad and Saucedo both talked of Islamophobia and racism. How shameful. That’s the language of desperate people. It’s unsubstantiated. Worst of all, it’s the language of people who aren’t interested in winning a debate. Conrad especially just wants to win fights.

Winning a debate requires the ability to listen, persuasive logic and an understanding of what principles are most essential for the health of a society. Winning a fight just means being the biggest, baddest bad-ass in the fight. Right now, these DFL front groups aren’t equipped to win debates. They’re built to win fights. Winning fights is for juveniles. Winning debates is for adults.

In the meantime, I’ll just thank our Founding Fathers for giving us a constitutional republic, not mob rule.